Language Works

What’s Missing Memory Game

Ideal for Preschool/Pre-K

A pack of crayons, a pink flashlight, a blue spoon, and a white sock lie on a metal tray.

This activity promotes development and learning by encouraging children to understand and use a growing vocabulary.

Materials Needed:

  • A tray, such as a cookie sheet
  • A dish towel
  • Toy vehicles
  • Common household objects, such as a spoon, cotton ball, sock, etc.

Participants: This activity is intended for adult/child interaction.


  1. Step 1: Place a few objects, including toy vehicles, on the tray. Show your child the objects, pointing to each one as you name it. Instruct your child to look very carefully and remember what is on the tray.
  2. Step 2: Cover the tray with the dishtowel. Remove one of the objects, hiding it in the dishtowel. As you take away the dishtowel, say, “What’s missing? What’s missing?”
  3. Step 3: Ask your child to look carefully at the tray to identify the missing object.

Learn More: Try taking away two or more objects at a time or add more objects to the tray. Can your child remember and notice which ones are missing?

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